PROFILE

Jenn McMillen

Chief Accelerant, Incendio

I’m Jenn McMillen and the founder of Incendio, where my specialty is increasing topline revenue by turning data into revenue-generating customer programs. Prior to starting Incendio, I had a long retail career with GameStop, Michael’s, Tuesday Morning, JoAnn Stores, Blockbuster and others. Today my team and I help companies solve and overcome their CRM, loyalty, and customer experience challenges.

I am a nationally known loyalty & CRM expert, recognized by the CRM community and my peers with major industry awards for programs such as GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards, which has more than 35-million members, many of whom pay an annual subscription fee for an enhanced experience. I built the program and launched it, changing GameStop’s entire marketing strategy and creating a multi-million-dollar revenue stream.

In addition to PowerUp Rewards, I have created and/or run several well-known loyalty and subscription programs in addition to PowerUp Rewards, including myGNC Rewards, United Airlines’ Silver Wings Plus, Vail Resorts PEAKS, Payless ShoeSource Points, Neiman Marcus InCircle, and one of the first big national loyalty subscription programs in the 90’s, Blockbuster Rewards. I belong to more than 100 loyalty programs.

I love to write (journalism degree and voracious reader), and I have a wicked sense of humor.

For more information, visit: incendioworks.com

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  • Posted on: 09/23/2022

    Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7?

    With so much media coverage about consumers starting holiday shopping early due to economic concerns, it looks like Target just wants to ensure they get their piece of the pie. There is no more holiday shopping kickoff. Thanks to Amazon and other retailers, it's a year-round activity now.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will on-the-job training become a new norm in CEO succession planning?

    My firm did a lot of work on JCP's loyalty program. The most impactful day was the one spent with JCP's internal research team, discussing what makes the JCP customer tick. I have said often, If Ron Johnson had just spent a few HOURS with the insights team, he would've had a real appreciation for his customer's budget mentality, the need to feel like she was a good steward of her family's money, and the role that coupons and feeling like she got a great deal had in her overall decision-making.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2022

    Will on-the-job training become a new norm in CEO succession planning?

    Conventional wisdom says that the first 90 days of any job should be spent listening. This on-the-job training approach gives new leadership the chance to get to know the business before putting out a vision plan. Sounds like a win-win.
  • Posted on: 09/13/2022

    Shoplifters force Wegmans to pull the plug on its self-scanning app

    Without checks and balances people's base natures are enticed to run amok, especially in a time when inflation is hitting the pocketbook. Wegmans should have put some more security measures in place to combat what could have been entirely predicted.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2022

    Target ditched its mandatory retirement age to keep Brian Cornell in charge

    Has no one noticed the president of the United States is 79? And his predecessor is 76? Today, age is just a number. Literally. We probably all know 65-year-olds who look and act like 75-year-olds, and 65-year-olds who look and act like they're 55. The bar should be set at mental acuity, not some arbitrary number based on the year you happened to be born.
  • Posted on: 09/09/2022

    Should Ulta be merging premium and mass beauty products in its stores?

    Merging the products on the same fixtures could be a disaster, since the experience of shopping prestige -- and the price premium it commands -- will be eliminated. On the prestige side of the store, the brand positioning shines through with more visually engaging presentations, signage, better fixtures and seemingly better lighting. Looks rich, feels rich and more aspirational. Putting everything on the same shelf erodes the unique brand positioning that everyone has worked so hard to achieve. Were I the prestige brands, I'd be up in arms.
  • Posted on: 09/07/2022

    Will making house calls redefine CVS and Walgreens’ relationships with their customers?

    Why sit in a waiting room with a bunch of sick people when you can have someone come to your house? Perhaps we're on the verge of concierge healthcare for the masses? Services are certainly where the profits are.
  • Posted on: 09/06/2022

    Things go from bad to worse at Bed Bath & Beyond

    Too bad public companies don't have the leisure to say, we're going to shut down for 90 days to regroup and figure out our go-forward plan. With very few senior leaders, everything feels like a Band-Aid right now.
  • Posted on: 08/30/2022

    Nordstrom Rack bets on premium merchandise in the face of rising prices

    Premium brands in a discounted environment -- that's a win-win. Despite economic conditions, consumers always gravitate to deals, and especially when "trading down" in other areas has become the norm, consumers still want a bit of luxury in their lives. The Rack fills that need for shoppers with more disposable income, which is different from the other discounters that tend to target middle America.
  • Posted on: 08/29/2022

    Should retail worry about the ‘quiet quitting’ trend?

    Everyone should be worried about quiet quitting, not just retail. What if retailers instituted a two-tier pay system? One level for people who want to take on extra work, projects or responsibilities, and another for people who want to do the basics? It would be a clear indicator of your level of dedication and desire to rise within the ranks. (I realize this is overly simplistic, but this could be a choose-your-own-adventure for your job/career aspirations.)
  • Posted on: 08/25/2022

    Can pay raises and stock awards change GameStop’s trajectory?

    The best talent has already left for greener pastures, since GameStop ignored the stores and focused on internal initiatives for many years. The stock would've been a great incentive when the meme stock trend took off, but no one was thinking about the stores. As a former GameStop exec and creator of their loyalty program, I've been dismayed to watch the systematic dismantling of a powerhouse retail team and the elimination of a key level of leaders. They had all the pieces, but instead chose to focus on shiny objects.
  • Posted on: 08/18/2022

    Which data capabilities are still out of reach for marketers?

    While the optimal state for data is 100 percent real-time and actionable, companies need to get comfortable with the idea that 80 percent is OK, and it's never going to be 100 percent perfect. If you wait that long, the opportunity to leverage it is likely long gone. Patience may be a virtue but not in the actionable insights arena.
  • Posted on: 08/17/2022

    Walmart under-promised and over-delivered in the second quarter

    Walmart's spike is due to affluent shoppers looking for deals amid the inflationary pinch. No one is above deal hunting when everything costs more.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Does Walgreens have the right response to defuse growing calls to boycott the chain?

    Right there with you, Gene. If it's a labor issue, put the culprits in the back or out front stocking shelves, but not customer-facing positions like register or pharmacy.
  • Posted on: 07/21/2022

    Does Walgreens have the right response to defuse growing calls to boycott the chain?

    Sounds like Walgreens is going to have to decide what's more important: latitude for their employees to make decisions on a 1:1 basis or the masses who shop them. Since public companies are judged on topline revenue, this boycott could force Walgreens' hand. They can't have it both ways.

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